Big Career Change

April 1, 2009


I’ve just gotten off the phone with the Provost and the Dean telling them of my decision, and all of you are the next to know (other than family members and two or three unusually discreet friends).

Beginning in September, I won’t be in Egypt, nice though it’s been. Instead I’ll be at the new American University of the Antarctic (AUAnt, and the Latour pun is obviously just an accident).

Yes, it does sound like a strange project for the Obama Administration to fund at a time like this. But the idea is to make climate change (read: ozone hole) the center of the curriculum, and of course most of my students there will be marine biology and meteorology types. They’ll have no Philosophy major now or perhaps ever, and I’ll miss my students in Cairo dearly. But I love the exotic, and can’t imagine a more exotic site than the South Pole.

Best of all, along with the required introductory philosophy courses, they accepted my proposal (made half tongue-in-cheek during the interview) to teach a “Literature of the Antarctic” course, with the obvious pillars being Lovecraft’s “At the Mountains of Madness” and Poe’s Arthur Gordon Pym, with a few polar travel diaries thrown in.

Though it’s amusing to think of holding the third speculative realism workshop at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, I can’t imagine they’d give me funding for such an event, so this’ll be a sort of intellectually hermetic job for as long as it lasts. But there should obviously be no problem maintaining this blog from down there.

Also, my apologies for the brief and confusing off-line period of this blog a few weeks ago, which was designed in part to cover my interview trip to Dubai (why do the interviews always have to be in Dubai?).

More details a bit later, since I have to catch the bus to class. But AUAnt already has my web site running, and it’s mighty flattering of them to make such a big deal of my arrival. Not bad for a glorified Intro to Philosophy teacher!



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